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Saturday 18 November, 2017, 6:10 am
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Judges bribery scandal: SC rejects plea seeking SIT probe into allegations

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into an alleged case of bribery in the name of judges.

The apex court made it clear that Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) FIR is not against any judge. It is also not possible to file a complaint against a judge.

"We are not above law but due process must be followed. No FIR can be lodged against a judge by judicial order," the SC bench said.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice RK Agrawal hear the arguments in the case on Monday.

During the hearing, the bench questioned advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Kamini Jaiswal, whether filing of two identically-worded petition was not a matter of propriety and would it not tantamount to forum shopping if it is sought to be listed before a particular bench.

Attorney General KK Venugopal had said the petitioner should withdraw the plea as it has cost the reputation of the institution.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer had ordered on November 9 that the plea should be heard by a five-judge constitution bench of the senior-most judges of the apex court.

However, on November 10, in an unprecedented hearing, a five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra had ruled that "no judge can take up a matter on his own, unless allocated by the chief justice of India, as he is the master of the roster".

It had over-ruled the order of Justice Chelameswar directing a constitution bench hearing, saying "if any such order has been passed by any bench, that cannot hold the field as that will be running counter to the order passed by the constitution bench."

The showdown was over the issue of supremacy of constituting a bench in which the authority of CJI was allegedly undermined by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar.

Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had termed as "disturbing" the allegations levelled in a CBI FIR and ordered setting up a bench of five top judges of the court as a petition by Jaiswal had alleged there were allegations against Justice Misra.

The CBI, in its FIR, lodged on September 19, has named several persons, including former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, as accused in an alleged corruption case.

Quddusi, who had also served as a judge in the Chhattisgarh High Court, was arrested along with Lucknow-based Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences' chairman B P Yadav, his son Palash Yadav and three others, for allegedly trying to settle a matter relating to a medical college barred from admitting new students. The judge had later been released on bail.

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